This year’s US Gaelic Athletic Association Finals were held in Seattle, WA over the Labor day long weekend of September 2nd-4th. Over 100 teams from 50+ cities brought with them over 2,000 athletes aged 16-40+ that competed for titles in Gaelic football, hurling, and camogie. These sports are intense, very physically demanding, and just as exciting to watch! For this event, the Bastyr Sports Medicine Club, sponsored by Masa Integrative Clinic, volunteered to be the sole first aid, sports medicine, and medical team for all athletes and participants over the three-day weekend.
Sponsored and overseen by lead supervising physician Dr. Masahiro Takakura ND DC, LAc, and supervising physician Dr. Darci Davis, ND, the student members of the BSMC provided all medical care for the event while seeing over 300 athletes and participants for various presenting conditions, including; bruises/contusions, abrasions, lacerations, shoulder dislocations, ankle injuries, knee pain, hip pain, wrist and finger injuries and dislocations, ligamentous sprains, meniscal tears, muscle strains, athlete biomechanics, low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain/injuries, fractures, concussions, and various forms of tendonitis. The team of Naturopathic medical students and Doctors also evaluated and referred athletes for emergency medical care when necessary.
Organized by the BSMC leadership team, nearly 15 club members arrived to Magnuson Park in Seattle over the weekend to utilize their learned physical medicine skills and provide care for the athletes who played several games throughout the weekend. The BSMC club members spent several weeks planning, training, and prepping for this event. Students from Bastyr’s San Diego campus, and the sports medicine club from Bastyr San Diego, also made the trip up to Seattle to join in on the action! Over nearly 30 hours of total service time, the students worked through quick physical assessments, ruling out injuries and emergency cases, and used a wide variety of physical medicine modalities to help treat the athletes. These modalities included ice therapy, cold friction rubs, soft tissue mobilization and myofascial release, muscle energy stretching and neuromuscular re-education, naturopathic joint manipulations, craniosacral therapy, athletic taping, compression taping, Leukotaping, Kinesiotaping (a gracious donation from Kinesiotaping Association), and splinting/joint immobilization. Along with practicing these skills, the students practiced their history taking, physical exam and orthopedic exam skills, accurately using objective assessments with goniometers, charting and assessment treatment outcomes, neurological evaluation of concussions, triaging acute injuries, wound cleaning and closure, and working in a team to provide optimal medical care! Further, the naturopathic medical students also provided appropriate follow-up treatments and recommendations such as home exercises, stretching, and appropriate medical referrals for conditions that needed more follow up. The high number of patient contacts was a tremendous opportunity for students to hone in on their medical decision-making skills and gain valuable feedback from the supervising doctors.
As done so in many previous events, BSMC also worked alongside the Bastyr TCM Sports Medicine club, supervised by Sofina Lin, LAc, providing integrative Naturopathic sports medicine and traditional Chinese medicine to help treat the Gaelic sports athletes! There was also a great collaborative effort to communicate with the dedicated EMT of the event, Bryce, on first aid cases. All in all, it was a tremendous display of collaboration between the various medical teams present at the tournament. The event coordinators also expressed a tremendous appreciation of the work and service provided by the team of students and doctors, and stated that this was the most extensive medical care that has ever been provided at a USGAA event over the last 50+ years!
This event also gave the BSMC a unique opportunity to further the Naturopathic sports medicine field. The leadership board and the supervising doctors conducted a treatment quality assurance assessment on all treatment modalities that were provided during the event. Using appropriate informed consent and confidentiality measures, data was collected from all consenting athletes regarding the immediate outcomes of treatment. This information gathered will be organized and analyzed, and presented as a showcase of the effects of Naturopathic principles on the outcomes of sports medicine treatment. This is a very exciting first step in expanding the information available on the use of Naturopathy in the sports medicine world, so definitely be on the look out for updates on this topic! This survey assessment would not have been possible without all the hard work, guidance, and help that was received from Dr. Masa Sasagawa, and the BSMC is incredibly thankful for his support.
Finally, BSMC would like to give a big thank-you to our supervising physicians and practitioners for sponsoring the event and taking the time out of their day to help medical students practice their skills and gain valuable real world experience. Also, a huge thank-you goes out to Dr. Ara Walline for connecting us to this event, as well as Dermot Randles, Brian White, Paul McGarry, John Keane, and the entire Seattle Gaelic Atheltic Club, the USGAA Seattle Finals event organizers, for inviting us out and allowing us to practice our medicine. We look forward to future collaborative efforts between the BSMC and the Gaelic Athletic Association. A special thank you also goes out to Jim Clavadetscher, event organizer for the annual Emerald City Championship volleyball tournaments, for all his support and assistance in helping us be prepared and well equipped for this event.
The student leadership board of the Bastyr Sports Medicine Club present at the event:
Thien Nguyen, Ashok Bhandari, Julieann Murella, Jessica Norton.
Leadership advisor/past leadership:
Ngoc Le, Grace Chang, Heather Overland (TCM)
Present student members:
Karissa Logan, Giulia Ricciardi, Amanda Blandford, Christine Khuat, Rick McLevich, Kristina Zarlengo, Noryang Yeshi, Ashlee Llamas, Dawn Alden, Celeste Bosworth, Conor “Siri Sadhana” Watters, Phuong Thach, Victora Brewster, Kristen Williams (TCM), Kathy Lai (TCM), Hillary Rodgers (TCM), Yun Xiao (TCM).